KARACHI: Industrialists on Wednesday rejected the government plan of gas supply discontinuation to captive power plants (CPPs) for general industry from Feb 1 and export-oriented sectors from March 1 calling it an anti-economy move and asking political parties to play their role in saving the country’s exports.
Speaking at a press conference at the Jamaat-i-Islami’s Idara Noor-i-Haq headquarters, JI leader Hafiz Naeemur Rahman and industrialists and leaders of the SITE, Korangi, North Karachi, F. B Area and SITE-Superhighway associations sought immediate response from the federal government over their “anti-Karachi and anti-industry” move.
“If the government doesn’t respond to demands of the industry and people of Karachi, we would be left with no other option but to take to the streets,” the JI leader said.
Hafiz Naeem asks why industries purchase expensive electricity from KE
“Is it a kind of joke with the province which is contributing more than 74 per cent of the total gas production in the country? Is it a justified move for the city which shares more than 80pc in the national economy? The Jamaat-i-Islami is standing with the people of Karachi and industrialists of this city. We would not accept this and take every legal and democratic step against this decision,” he said.
As foreign traders of liquefied natural gas (LNG) default on supplies amid gas shortages, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) has recently warned to review the overall situation, including discontinuation of gas supplies to a large number of industries on a long-term basis.
The decision has already sent ripples among the key players of the economy including export industry who have voiced concerns over the government’s move to suspend gas supply to industries without making any alternative arrangement.
The recent collaboration of the city industrial associations with the JI suggests traders and industrialists’ mood as they welcomed the party’s initiative for the city and called others to join hands in struggle against unemployment.
The JI leader and representatives of industry including Faisal Moiz Khan, Abdul Hadi, Nisar Ahmad Khan and Saleem-uz-Zaman agreed that any “wrong” decision would ultimately hit the common man.
“If industrial manufacturing units are given 150 million cubic feet of gas out of 200 MMCF supply to KE, that will ensure running of industrial wheel,” said Hafiz Naeem. “The industries are capable to generate power at the rate of Rs11 per unit then why they purchase power from KE at Rs15 per unit? The government must ensure smooth supply of natural gas to industrial, commercial and domestic sector and take concerted measure to control the gas crisis. CNG stations and transport sector have also been hit hard due to indifference of government,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2021